The council member reacted angrily and told colleagues he blamed Mr. Aymaq for the entire investigation, according to officials and journalists.
Two weeks after the reporter was killed, Mr. Bik was dead, too.
He died of wounds suffered during a shootout on Jan. 14 with National Directorate of Security agents who went to arrest him at his home in connection with Mr. Aymaq’s death, the police said. Three of Mr. Bik’s bodyguards were wounded in the clash, said Fazlulhaq Ehsan, head of Ghor’s provincial council.
The National Directorate of Security office in Ghor declined to comment.
Then came the targeted killings on Feb. 25 of the slain reporter’s relatives in what the police said was a revenge attack.
Provincial officials blamed the Taliban. Ehsanullah Bik, Mr. Bik’s brother, is a commander for the insurgent group, said Amirdad Parsa, the police spokesman for Ghor Province.
This type of vendetta killing is a pattern, said Abdul Basir Qadiri, a member of the Ghor provincial council. “When people see a rival tribe become powerful, they join the Taliban or kill the leader of the rival tribe so they can remain the only powerful family in that area,” he said.
Mr. Aymaq’s brother, Sebghatullah, 28 — a police officer — and his cousin, Gol-Ahmad, 35, were shot and killed during the attack on Sebghatullah’s home in the village of Tigha-e-Timor, the police said. Also killed was Mr. Aymaq’s 13-year-old niece Arefa.
Five other relatives, including a 3-year-old niece, were shot and wounded. The gunmen abducted three male relatives, including Mr. Aymaq’s 11-year-old nephew, police said. They have not been heard from since.